De’Andre Hunter is going to play in the NBA. He was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the 4th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft Thursday night, making him the first-ever lottery pick from Virginia.
Hunter joins several other Virginia players drafted who played under Bennett — Mike Scott, Joe Harris, Justin Anderson, Malcolm Brogdon and Devon Hall. Scott, Harris, Anderson and Brogdon currently play in the NBA, and Hunter will become a teammate of Anderson on the Hawks.
Hunter’s selection with the fourth pick makes him the highest-picked Virginia basketball player since Ralph Sampson was taken with the first overall pick by the Houston Rockets in 1983.
The Hawks traded up for the fourth pick in the draft, making a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans that sent the No. 8, 17 and 35 picks in this year’s draft as well as Cleveland’s heavily-protected 2020 first-rounder to New Orleans in exchange for the fourth pick, as well as forward Solomon Hill, the 57th pick and a second-rounder next year.
The pick initially belonged to the Los Angeles Lakers, but was dealt to the Pelicans this week as part of a trade involving star big man Anthony Davis.
Hunter was announced as a Lakers pick, but will be joining the Hawks once the trades become official. Per NBA rules, teams can technically only trade players until 2 p.m. on draft day, and afterward the teams are only able to trade the rights to players that have been drafted.
In his two years at Virginia, Hunter led the Cavaliers to ACC regular season titles in both seasons, an ACC Tournament title in 2018 and a National Championship this season.
This year, he averaged 15.2 points per game and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting 43.8 percent from three-point range. His offensive and defensive versatility led to numerous individual accolades, including ACC Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-ACC, NABC Defensive Player of the Year and a Final Four All-Tournament Team selection.
Hunter’s outstanding play this season culminated in a historic performance in the national championship game against Texas Tech. He scored 27 points on 4-5 shooting from three — including a crucial three to tie the game at the end of regulation and a crucial go-ahead three in overtime — to go along with 9 rebounds.
Hunter will bring his work ethic, athleticism and versatility on both ends of the court to the Hawks and looks poised to make an immediate impact.